August 20, 2018
APWA Submits Comments to White House CEQ on NEPA
- Last week, APWA submitted comments to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) with recommendations to improve implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);
- These potential revisions would expand the Trump Administration’s efforts to implement Executive Order (EO) 13807, which is intended to streamline the federal environmental review and authorization process for infrastructure projects;
- To view a copy of the letter, click here.
Court Decision Revives WOTUS in Some States
- A South Carolina federal judge issued a nationwide injunction on the Trump Administration’s delay of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule;
- The injunction is related to the EO issued in February that would suspend the 2015 rule while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers created a new rule;
- U.S. District Judge David Norton agreed with the plaintiffs, saying the Administration failed to seek public comment on the substance of the rule, or the implications of delaying the regulation by two years;
- As a result, the 2015 rule is now in effect in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington;
- However, due to injunctions in district courts in North Dakota and Georgia, the 2015 rule will not be in effect in the remaining 24 states;
- The agencies submitted a new proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review in June;
- The latest regulatory agenda published by the Trump Administration anticipates the publication of a proposed WOTUS rule in the Federal Register this month, with a final rule by November 2019;
- APWA submitted comments to EPA and the Corps on the need for clarity in the WOTUS rule in September 2017.
WIFIA Program Sees Record Interest
- The EPA announced the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program received a record 62 letters of interest (LOI) from prospective borrowers across the country;
- The EPA received LOIs from prospective borrowers located in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam, for a wide variety of projects, including wastewater, drinking water, water recycling, desalination, stormwater management, and combined approaches;
- The LOIs collectively request over $9 billion in loans;
- While most prospective borrowers are municipal government agencies, other prospective borrowers include small communities, public-private partnerships, corporations, and a tribe;
- Currently, EPA is evaluating the submitted LOIs for project eligibility, credit worthiness, engineering feasibility, and alignment with WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria;
- Through this competitive process, EPA selects projects which it intends to finance and invites them to submit a formal application;
- To see the full list of LOIs, click here.
FAA Issues Law Enforcement Guidance for Unauthorized UAS Operations
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released the latest version of the “Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations”;
- The report seeks to provide greater clarification and guidance to help law enforcement deter, detect, and investigate unauthorized and or unsafe UAS operations;
- For more information, click here.
NISC Holding FirstNet Webinar
- On August 30, at 1:00 pm ET, the National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC) is scheduled to hold a webinar titled “Introduction and Overview to the FirstNet Network Status Tool and Uplift Request Tool”;
- The webinar will cover features that are crucial to public safety provided through FirstNet;
- FirstNet is the only nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to the nation’s first responders;
- For additional information, click here.
DHS Hosting Webinar on Flood Mapping
- On August 30, at 12:00 pm ET, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Decision Support System for Water Infrastructure Security (DSS-WISE) is scheduled to host a webinar on their web-based, automated, two-dimensional dam and levee-break flood modeling and mapping capability;
- You may use this link to join the webinar.
ON THE HORIZON
- August 20 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation & Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety & Security is scheduled to hold a field hearing titled “Pipeline Safety in the Great Lakes: Incident Prevention and Response Efforts at the Straits of Mackinac” – click here for more information;
- August 20 at 1:00 pm ET, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation & Infrastructure is scheduled to hold a field hearing titled, “Oversight Hearing on Repeated Flooding Events in Ellicott City, MD: Reviewing the Federal Role in Preventing Future Events” – click here for more information;
- August 21 at 2:30 pm ET, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime & Terrorism is scheduled to hold a hearing titled “Cyber Threats to Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure” – click here for more information;
August 22 at 10:00 am ET, the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the nominations of William N. Bryan to be Under Secretary at the DHS Directorate of Science & Technology and Peter T. Gaynor to be Deputy Administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – click here for more information.